How *I* study for nursing school

nursing-this-weekI have never seen a more accurate statement in my life.

How is this semester so crazy? I only have two classes and two clinicals. Oh that’s right, I’m also working 20+ hours a week and we have 3 online classes with assignments galore. And can I just say, group projects in nursing school are such a waste of time. To organize a schedule between 5+ people with different clinical and work schedules just isn’t going to happen. Thank God for Google docs!

I’ve also be able to do more skills so far in clinical than I did all last semester. I’ve inserted an IV, done blood draws, give LOTS of injections (SQ and IM), and performed an EKG.

My clinical instructors this semester are awesome. They are so laid back which makes it easy to be open and honest with them. This week during post conference our instructor was asking us about how we use resources and study for class.

Our conversation went a little like this:

“How do you feel about the teaching methods for (certain class)?” “I get nothing out of class, I read the book to facilitate learning.”
“Do you review the notes before class?” “Absolutely not. Who has time for that?”
“Did the core drug list provided help?” “I haven’t look at that since it was given to us.”
“Did you use the concepts book last semester for J1?” “Only for practice questions, otherwise, no.”
“Did you watch the learning videos for skills?” “Nope, felt like it was a complete waste of money.”

I love that the faculty values our input and wants to take into consideration as to what works for us. But after this conversation I wondered if people in my clinical group felt like I just flat out didn’t care about school? HAH, ya’ll I swear I do and I actually make good grades!

I read a lot of blog posts on “how to study for nursing school” and let me just tell you… Most of it does NOT work for me.

So instead…. Here’s my study method:

As I said, I don’t review any of the material before class. I simply do NOT have time for this with my work schedule and trying to get everything else done that has an actual due date.

I do NOT sit in the front of the class. My teacher called us all “back row beauties” but technically I sit a few rows from the back. 😉

I also don’t review my notes immediately after class. This would be ideal but once again WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? [Granted I do try to do my reading (for the class I read for) that same week we have lecture on the topic.]

This semester in med-surg (Adult Health) I’m not getting much out of lecture. I have found that reading the section in the book that covers the topic and adding to my notes key facts has been my “go-to” method for that class. My notes usually end up very colorful and I can later remember “ok that was on the top right of the page in pink.”

I also try to do a lot of practice questions from Med Surg Success and also on the Evolve Website questions from our book. I find these REALLY help me identify what I know and what I don’t.

Colorful and most of the writing is “extra” info from the book. 

For my women’s health class, I get everything from lecture and have yet to crack the book this semester. (I was told to not even get the book, but it was only $30 to rent so I did. Could have saved that money.) Lots of practice questions for this class as well.

I do go to tutoring every week. Hearing the material reviewed again and getting the material in a different format has proven to be very helpful!

I have also made what I call my “nugget” sheets. As I am studying I usually have a blank piece of paper and jot down “nuggets” I think are important. Usually during our study sessions I will quiz everyone from these sheets.

Example “nugget sheet” from my last Women’s Health exam.

Speaking of group study sessions. I study with the same group of girls almost weekly. I try to go into our study sessions having already studied on my own. We do a lot of practice questions together and also review our notes and “talk out” the things we don’t understand. Having multiple brains working together works well for us.



So I guess the moral of this is… find out what works for YOU. It may be different from what everyone else is doing or advice you’ve gotten from others. Since this is my 3rd degree I really know what works for me (perks of being a lifetime student). Re-writing the material (nugget sheets) and tons of practice questions are my secrets to success.

This nugget was so annoyed I chose studying Adult over throwing his ball. Just look at his face. 
Today’s study set up!

I’m off to spend the rest of the day studying for my upcoming Adult exam.

Happy Studying!


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